Enabling Technology

Will Your HR Hybrid Engine Go the Distance for Your Needs?

Get the most from a hybrid approach to HR service delivery by ensuring the pieces combine into a smoothly running “vehicle.”
by Yvette Cameron
Does your HR organization drive a race car, luxury sedan, “smart” auto, or perhaps a bus?  There is little doubt that HR is under continuous pressure to find creative ways to address evolving business needs, with minimal upfront outlays and rapid payback. Most are now finding themselves combining various consumption models for HR service delivery, resulting in a hybrid delivery vehicle: a combination of on-premise solutions (e.g., for the core HR system of records), on-demand software services (e.g., for specific tasks in recruiting or performance management), and outsourced business process services like payroll and benefits administration.

Each solution part must appropriately cover its purpose, but together they also must combine into a meaningful whole, delivering comprehensive, end-to-end business support. Careful planning of your hybrid model will ensure the technologies used in each delivery approach interact effectively with each other, support and enable cost and process efficiencies, and allow for meaningful business analysis across the enterprise. Unplug any of these aspects, and your hybrid may leave you stranded.

On-Premise Solutions. On-premise HR solutions are still regarded as the core foundation—the chassis—for HR service delivery, as they manage fundamental elements such as organization, job, and people data as well as roles, security, and workflows. The on-premise model is tried and true both from a business (ownership and control of data) and from an architectural (ability to use, modify, and synchronize data across applications) perspective. Knowing that an effective applications strategy requires revisiting the plan over time, consider how you can strengthen your delivery chassis by increasing the usage of your current technology. For example, expand the use of self-service and portal technologies, both of which have well-documented and rapid ROI.

On-Demand Services. The advantages of delivering targeted HR services in an on-demand or software-as-a-service (SaaS) model all align quite well to today’s imperatives for cost reductions and quick ROI. Reductions in IT capital and staffing expenses, seemingly continuous functional upgrades, and rapid time to value for specific business needs are all key benefits.

There is enormous benefit in integrating the various HR business processes with each other and with the adjacent business processes (finance, supply chain, project management, and environmental health and safety) to enable end-to-end HR. A turbo-charged offering delivers this integration across the enterprise.

Making the choice for on-demand technologies that provide configurability and global reach will also help ensure a sufficiently charged delivery vehicle. On-demand technologies should not lock you into decisions that your business might outgrow in the future or that do not fully fit with the way your company operates even today. These technologies should run on, or meaningfully interact with, your on-premise technology chassis.

Outsourced Processes. Spurred by the recognition that the traditional lift-and-shift model for BPO leads to high complexity and risk, there has been a steady shift in focus to the adoption of discrete process outsourcing. Improvements in service quality and costs are more likely in these scenarios, but information silos may result. The HR hybrid vehicle must have an integrated and comprehensive view into all aspects of the workforce. A consolidated approach must ultimately be achieved across the boundaries of the client and their service provider(s), irrespective of the mode of technology deployment. Achieving this is far easier, and with less expense and risk, by utilizing a common technology platform; processes should leverage a single source of truth for maximum impact.

Rapid benefits can come from each of the on-premise, on-demand, or outsourced delivery models. If the plan is for a non-integrated standalone approach, then SaaS based on a discrete technology, bolted onto on-premise solutions, could be a good path to quick results. If you’re looking for sustainability and potential to grow end-to-end processes, you might reconsider and seek SaaS or HRO offerings based on technologies you already have in place or at minimum which are able to effectively integrate to your core HRMS platform.

The technology decisions you and your service partners make will form the foundation for your long-term HR service delivery vehicle. Ensure the hybrid model your business is driving is sustainable for the future.  

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